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Archive for January, 2007

almost end of month

January 30th, 2007 at 01:42 pm

Not sure what has happened but I have gone off my little spending plan just a bit. This month hit me hard with some car repairs and I guess I just didnít move things around well enough in my budget. I need to get back to grocery shopping and setting a weekly menu but for some reason I am just so tired that I canít even think straight some days and it is hard enough to get to work and stay all day. I feel like I am going to sleep early enough (except wed when I have a later class, but he has been letting us out early). I need to really tramp down on the spending this next month. Thank god it is a short month.

My interview with the state dept has been moved to later in the month, right after the presidents day weekend. Means I have to spend the night in San Francisco the 19th but it will make it feel like a mini vacation and I should get a great nights sleep at the hotel there.

Tonya, school, little spending

January 24th, 2007 at 09:50 am

So the past week has been a little busy but not much spending. Saturday was about 6 dollars for a hot cocoa and two scones at Panera. Sunday was nothing. Monday was lunch 5 dollars and daiquiri mix for my book club, 5. Tuesday was burger at McDonalds, the second time I have eaten fast food this year. i have a little over 100 for the rest of the month but no real plans except for a movie this weeked. i need to spend a good portion of the weekend on my foreign service application and essay. My oral assessment in the 2nd of February.

I sent an email to a friend and former colleague on Monday asking her to join us for drinks on Friday. She replied to me that her husband has passed away suddenly with no reason last Tuesday. It is quite a shock. He was only 43. They have 5 kids between the ages of 16 and 24. it is such a loss to this community and to her family. The services are Friday morning and I and another colleague are going. How can you not to pay your respects and support the family.

Classes started last week and I can already tell it is going to be a long semester. I take these classes for fun, French and intro to theater. It will be fun but it will be a long 18 weeks.

I need to decide what I am going to do about going back to school next fall for another degree. I have been accepted to an MPH program but I really donít want to take out more money in school loans. I am hoping that by April when I have to give my deadline yes or no it will be know if this S job will come through and if they are going to pay for it. I am also thinking of contacting the program to see if I can defer for a ear due to financial reasons. I mean we had to wait a whole year to start because of program issues, why canít I now defer for a year?

Financial "confessions"

January 19th, 2007 at 10:45 am

$ 81,953.12

That it the total amount of my debt: student loans (about 55k here), credit cards, loan from mom for car. That is the total amount of money I owe.

$6000 the total amount (approximately) I have in the bank right now.

Goal 1: build Emergency Fund back to 10K
(That is where I feel comfortable and is about 4 months living expenses for me)
Goal 2: Pay off CC1, Bank of America ($2900)
Goal 3: Pay off CC2, El Dorado ($14,200, medical bills from ankle issue 2001, *Please don't think badly of me. I came home from working over seas with a broken ankle and foot and am fighting the US labor department about paying my hospital bills, it is a workmenís comp case for 5 years!)
Goal 4-6: CC 4, 5, 6: ~~$5000
Goal 7: pay off mom

The good news: I love my job and am working with my agency to make it non contract and a "real" job. This will help me be able to sleep at night and be able to pay off a load of debt quickly. The good news, with my current personal ďpay off planĒ I should be with out CC and Car loan in about 2 years. The student loans, once I finish the second masters program (with out student loans) will be paid back in about 4-5 years. I am not worried about that it is interest free while I am in school and is only 1.9 % if I am not. (Consolidation 5 years ago was god send and I love my lender: VSAC!)

Here is the real truth: I feel like I have been living a lie to all of you for over a year. I knew to the penny what I owed and was working on it (quickly). I am not frustrated about the student loans (an evil necessity and allows me to make great money and love my job) or the miniscule cc debt that is not medical related. It is the medical stuff that frustrates me. Hopefully by the end of 2007 that will be rectified in court and paid off. Here is to a profitable year 2007!

with a masters degree in intl mgmt i do know about financial things, i swear!


Ing Sub Accounts

January 17th, 2007 at 01:26 pm

Can someone tell me how to set up sub accounts within the ING website? Can you have one account where all your money is and categorize it based upon sub accounts?

Thanks,
Kristina

valuing long-term goals over short-term thrills.

January 16th, 2007 at 03:43 pm

isn't that a great quote to inspire you to save more, spend less and be happy with what you have? Got it from an article in NBC money that i cannot find now!

MLK Weekend activities and spending

January 16th, 2007 at 12:04 pm

Was not a frugal weekend.

Saturday went to lunch with V, $16. Rented 4 movies at Block Buster, we were both fighting a cold and this way we enjoyed ourselves, spent time together just hanging out. I crocheted on the blank I would like to send to one of her nieces. I think I can make this one pretty quickly and I like that it can be made in pieces and stitched together from there.

Sunday I went to church with A and L. Then we had coffee after for about an hour just catching up. I bought two books (from my allotment of 5 for the year. This 5 a year thing works out well. I only bought 5 books the entire year 2006.) One is one I have been wanting for a while and it was finally on sale for 30% off. The other was a book I wanted to read but the library system here does not have it. Hard back book for $4. And I will donate it to the library after I am done for their collection. I took a nap, cleaned my room, crocheted and really did nothing that night. Bought groceries for a total of 19.00

Monday I finished organizing my closet, took a two mile walk, crocheted and watch some TV. No money spent today!

Edited to add that with the exception of lunch on saturday (planned for) there was no eating out of any kind!! YEAH!!!

edited to add Tuesdays spending: parking 7.00 and gas 20 for 3/4 of a tank. nothing else planned for today

Weekend is here! (MLK long weekend)

January 12th, 2007 at 05:13 pm

Not much to add today.

I had to buy a new battery for my car this AM, would not start would not be jumped. Not enough of anything to hold the charge. I knew I was on borrowed time with it but I thought I would last the winter, stupid cold weather here in California.

I had lunch with my friend M. WE had a good time but I talked a lot about my sister and visiting her last December. To much I am afraid.

Nothing planned for tonight I am trying to decipher a crochet book pattern so I might try some more tonight. It has been a long week, lots of OT and there is a good chance more this weekend because of the weather. That is what happens when you work in my field I am afraid.

Hope everyone has a good weekend and stays warm!

day after amys dinner, lunch with co worker planned

January 11th, 2007 at 11:00 am

Last night I had dinner with some friends to celebrate the divorce of one us (not me!) We want to wish her well on her new official single life. I have been saving some money and putting aside items from this month budget to afford it. I figured around 125 should do it. Then another friend who got a substantial raise yesterday treated all of us! (ok there were only three ) but I really fought for paying my own way. She just said Nope! So I have had two free meals this week.

Today I am having lunch out with a friend who has decided to leave the position in the office where we work. He is having a hard time getting projects done. He blames it on everyone else but really he has no diplomacy, rubs people the wrong way and they donít want to play with him. He is also very ďI have a degree in this so I know everything and I have been in the military for so long that I am an expert at running centers like thisĒ attitude. He does not understand the concept of mutual cooperation and has done nothing outstanding in the 9 months he has been with us. My former boss admitted he made a huge mistake in hiring him but now we are stuck with him until he leaves.

I work with people who have 30 + more years of experience doing the work that we are doing. And I have a damn masters degree in this subject and have been accepted to two others to begin in the fall (the one he wanted to attend but was turned down by our office and management! Sometimes it pays to be a contractor.) Anyway it could make things interesting. I like him personally but I believe his business ethics and work skills need improving. I do not know him we enough to make those comments to him nor would I. He could make life a living hell.

Spending today: parking 7, lunch at hamburger joint around 10.

Spending money and eating out

January 10th, 2007 at 09:32 am

So yesterday was a low spend day, I had to pay for parking so 7.00. not to bad.

My sleep is getting worse. I am trying to get up and hit the gym before work like I used to but I just canít see to want to wake up in the mornings. This is ridiculous. I need to get back on track with the weight loss thing and being active just for the sake of moving and my health.

I have eaten dinner at home, breakfast and lunch for the past10 days either at home or with stuff I brought from home for hat purpose with no unexpected spending. I did eat dinner out last Friday but that was planned spending. I feel good about what I am doing in this new year and hope I can maintain it month to month. Some days it is a struggle but I feel good knowing what I have done so far this year. 355 more days to go!

Lunch

January 9th, 2007 at 12:24 pm

Today a co worker who knows that i try and bring my lunch and only go out once or twice a month came buy asking if i wanted to go. when i mentioned i brown bagged it today she said "I need to get out of this office before i go crazy, let's walk to Chipotle (5 blocks)to pick something up and it's one me."

I said, i'll walk with you but i can eat when we get back.

She ended up buying me lunch anyway. SHe is a good friend, whom i adore, and this just made for a better lunch than what i brought.

Groceries, Young mom and Manager

January 9th, 2007 at 09:51 am

Went grocery shopping last night spent 37.26 for $56 worth of groceries. There were lots of BOGOF offers at Safeway yesterday on things that were on my list. Always a nice surprise! I wish I had more storage space but renting a room in a house of three causes some issues.

Here is a living testimony to this website and ideas:

But first a vocabulary lesson:
BOGOF = Buy one get one free
WIC: women, infantc and Children program in C: serves to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants, & children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating, and referrals to health care.

Now the story:

There was an interesting interaction at the check out. There was a woman who was using food stamps and WIC to buy groceries. She is new to the program and was talking to the cashier. She wanted to be able to buy formula for her baby but could not until the 14th. She could had no money and was standing there crying. She was able to buy the other things she needed with the other WIC and food stamps but there were a lot of things she was buying that were BOGOF: cereals, milk, eggs, cheese, bread etc.

While the cashier was trying to sort which coupons stuff went with what, I asked the customer if she knew about the BOGOF offers she had in her purchase. She didnít realize that she could partake in that even if she was on food stamps. The cashier was upset I was telling her about this and said so and called the manager. I asked the manager if there was anything wrong with the BOGOF if she is on food stamps. The manager said no and it was a good idea to make the little amount she had (started after the first so only like 60% of the full benefits). I asked the cashier to wait and took the woman through the store for over an hour showing her the offers and explaining how the BOGOF or other offers make the programs money work for her family, now and in the future. She ended up getting over 175 dollars worth of food for only 80 dollars.

There were lots of things at Safeway and it felt good to be able to help her make the right decisions. If there was a question about if she could buy it with the stuff she had we just walked up and asked the manager. She eventually started going with us when she realized that if I didnít get some help from the store to help this poor woman I was not going to buy my products either. The woman was so happy and said she had no idea the best way to go shopping and how to make this opportunity to get back on her feet work for her and her two kids. She had been struggling for a while and really did not want to use WIC or food stamps but recently she had no choice. She was to embarrassed to ask for help. I told her to buy the paper on Wednesday and Sunday to see what the sales are and to plan. And I reminded her to take some time when she is going through the store as there might be a special (like the bread we found that she bought three loaves and got three free to freeze) that would help her stretch her money each month. It was amazing to help her.

She could not get the formula issues straightened out so I bought her the large size to help until the 14th. I said that since she was willing to allow me to help her, consider it a late Christmas present for her baby. I remember growing up when we had nothing left and it was PB&J or macaroni cheese for dinner, someone always came by and gave us something. My mom was incredible raising 4 kids with out every using public assistance but it was hard. If I was able to help one woman today, maybe she will think of me in the future. The manager also said when we were leaving that if the woman had any questions at any time to come and find her, she is always there on Tuesday nights.

I talked to the manager as my purchases were being rung up and she mentioned that they are getting more and more customers right now on public assistance. It was just great that she was able to help me help the young woman. I can admit right now that I am the kind of person that if I received no help from the manager I would have written a letter to corporate with a copy of all my grocery receipts to show them how much business they would have lost from my business being taken elsewhere.

Spending for the day 7 dollar parking, groceries 37.29.


DRIP's

January 8th, 2007 at 04:50 pm

Who here invests through DRIP's and can tell me where and how to start? I have $25 a month i would like to start investing (to learn more about it) and would love to know how you atarted and if you recommend the transfer agent you use.

Thanks,

hair cut, baby shower, movie

January 8th, 2007 at 09:16 am

Friday was an ex pensive day for me. Additional spending: hair care products (48.5), Seeís Candy to send (8), movie with V (9.5 Children of Men, ok movie) and dinner at E bar (16).

Saturday and Sunday were two pretty low key spending days, trying to make up for Friday

Saturday was a very quiet day for me, I deep conditioned my hair and got it cut (24.95) the girl who rang me up gave me back to much change ($5) and I dropped it off Sunday with a small note to the manager. Not expecting to hear back from anyone. Would hate for her to be off in her till just because she canít count. I looked at the receipt and she put in the wrong amounts of the cash I gave her. Also bought flowers for my sisters birthday (9.68)

Sunday was no spending at all except for gas to sisters house. We threw a baby shower pot luck for her neighbor. She is due with her third boy sometime in the next month so we invited all the neighborhood moms, who brought something to share and we surprised the mom. It was a lot of fun and nice to surprise her. She got about a half a years diapers for the new baby and about a years worth of wipes.

Sunday night laundry and reading a book.

edited to add: and no money has been spent on fast food. none has been eaten. usually i eat it at least twice a week if not more but i have not had any since christmas eve. that is a long time for me. ANd i seem to have extra cash hanging around as a result!!

Dentist, tire and light rail pass

January 5th, 2007 at 01:17 pm

Dentist appointment went well today. No cavities or issues. Cleaning always feels so nice and the teeth look so white for a few days! Next appointment July 10 at 9 am.

Got my light rail pass for the semester. will start using it again Monday morning. 10 dollars for Jan-May, not bad when they are usually around 80 per month. All thanks to my French class!

I had to buy a new tire today. One was slowly loosing air and they could not find the leak so I finally got to the bank where my car savings account was and took money out for the new tire. $130. but at least the others are good. Had them rotated too.

It took forever to find parking. Governorsí swearing in ceremony today and I was heading back at the high light of the ceremony. Finally did but guess I wonít really be here that long. Will leave around 3 I think.

Dinner out with V planed tonight. She has been gone for so long (Christmas) it will be nice to see her. Maybe a movie too. All comes from entertainment budget so it is planned for.

Bought lunch today Togos 6.18

January 4 Site Visit, House purchase

January 4th, 2007 at 03:20 pm

So Iím still thinking about the purchase of a condo. A friend of mine really wants me to wait and find something with two bedrooms so that I could rent out one if there was a financial problem. Even 400 a month would be a help if times were tough. And I have to admit that the idea of buying something when I am a contractor is scary. I know people who have done it but the office is so volatile because of our leadership that anything could happen. We looked at a few houses online last night. There are quite a few more in my price range than before. One is really cute and has been updated quite a bit we just need to check the neighborhood. It would be about 30 k more than the condo but it works out to 150 less because of the costs and fee associated with the condo. Pretty weird if you ask me. I placed a call to the agent of record to determine which area it is located. There are some places a single woman should not live by themselves!!

Had to do more work on the duty statement and resubmit. I hope it is approved by the end of the month so we can begin interviewing (including myself) for the job and I can have a non contract job. It would pay a little higher than I am now, be set with raises every year, have safety retirement (IE no social security paid in any more, and I have already reached the 40 quarters of credit for SS), have a bargaining unit (very small but something) and be something I could stay with for a long time. I really donít want to be a contractor when I buy something. It would probably give me ulcers if I was still one.

Site visit today which meant I had to drive and not take light rail. At least parking and mileage are included in todayís expense report so it is a no spend day for me!

My house ďland lordĒ reimbursed the amount I had for expenses at the end of 2006. The usual expenses for the three of us equaled 150 or so per month each (including 20 for cable for my room). I just kept writing her the amount because she had not done the expenses list since early summer. I knew I had a credit but I did not know it was to the tune of $204 dollars! She gave me a check last night and I deposited into my house saving accounts today via the mail. I know the utilities check I gave to her for January has already cleared but it should not be too high this month. We heat only our individual rooms, no use of the heat unless all three of us are home. I usually only heat my room for 30 minutes with my personal heater then I sit under my electric blanket to stay warm while reading or watching TV. Uses a little less electricity. No sense heating too much of the room.


Condo Purchase follow up (more advice wanted!)

January 3rd, 2007 at 11:20 am

So I am following up with a mortgage person to see what kind of mortgage he can arrange for me for the condo. The more I think about it the more I think it is a good idea. I am ready to have my own place and am looking forward to owning. There are 7 properties left that I can afford in the area. And not having a yard to tend to sure sounds good right now! I also have contacted my insurance guy to determine what the insurance costs are estimated to be.

I still have a fear about being a contract employee but i am working with my boss and recently wrote a job description for my "dream job" here currently doing the same things I do now! So...that would be nice.

Does anyone know how the tax benefits work? I know you need to write in the property taxes you paid and the mortgage interest on the schedule A, does it work that you then get to deduct a percentage of it or are you going to be able to deduct the entire amount? It would work out that (for instance) if I had a years worth of interest paid this year it would be more than the amount of the federal taxes I paid. Would I get the entire amount (of income taxes) paid back or is it a percentage? What about the property taxes and the loan fees?

It has been an interesting journey to learn about this. I know a lot about personal finance but never having bought property it is new to me.

Any other suggestions? I am going to take some pictures tonight and really study the place to get a good feel for it. There would be some storage issues but I think I have them solved pretty well.

I am back to looking for a part time job. I had a full time and a part time job for two years and about 9 months ago I quit the part time job because I needed a break. I had pretty much worked 7 days a week and additional hours each day for 2 years. A weekend off here or there, but it was to much. I am looking at working at places that would benefit me (re employee discounts) toward purchasing things I would need for the condo if I went that route.

January spending log (updated daily)

January 3rd, 2007 at 11:18 am

Jan 4 spending log 7 parking (reimbursed),

dinner will be in as I went grocery shopping last night to the tune of 20 dollars. Still need milk as the store was out of the kind I buy.

Spending log:
January 1 target and groceries
January 2 parking 7.00
January 3 lunch with Melissa K
Parking 7.00

(heading to pick up pass for light rail today!!)